CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Other than a delay in practice, the Browns were unaffected by Wednesday morning's temporary facility closure as a result of a staff member testing positive for COVID-19.
The team was able to reopen their facility late Wednesday morning and they will practice in the afternoon according to head coach Kevin Stefanski.
“We’re always going to be careful and cautious when it comes to safety and health of our organization – our players, our coaches, our staff,” Stefanski, who held his daily Zoom video conference from his office in Berea, said. “We did the close contract tracing with the league and feel confident we can open the building back up.
“We’re going to bring the players in this afternoon.”
The team released the following statement Wednesday morning:
“The Cleveland Browns were informed this morning that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The facility is currently closed and meetings will take place remotely while contact tracing is conducted to identify any potential high-risk close contacts. The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts on the appropriate next steps as the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority.”
Last week Stefanski split the team in half, offense and defense, and held separate practices for them. After nearly a foot of snow fell in northeast Ohio Tuesday, the Browns likely will practice indoors Wednesday but he will not split the team in half.
“All we had to really do is move practice back a bit,” Stefanski said. “It won’t be a split squad practice or anything like that. We’ll get our normal work done, just a little bit later.
“We’ve been virtual with the players for a while now, so it really wasn’t that disruptive of our morning. It’s kind of what the guys are used to.”
The Browns have been operating under the NFL's intensive protocols since Oct. 31 when a staffer first tested positive meaning that all meetings between coaches and players are conducted virtually.
Last month the league mandated that all teams follow the intensive protocols as outbreaks spread throughout the country and positive tests rose around the NFL.